A Japanese Artist based in Vietnam since 1995.
Saeko studied Som Mai lacquer painting under the tutelage of artist Trinh Tuan, lacquer master Doan Chi Trung and lacquer craftsman Lam Huu Chinh.
She has persevered in the use of natural lacquer, which has become distinctly rarer in recent times in the face of competition from artificial lacquer, ensuring the maintenance of this ancient craft in the modern era by integrating tradition with innovation.
photograph by Hitoshi Hayashi
Today, less and less people know craftsmanship of Son Mai.
It is because Son Mai using Natural lacquer requires skill and experience as well as time. We could say more than 90 % of lacquer ware and lacquer art works produced in Vietnam are finished with artificial lacquer. The time honored art form is now being threatened by economical mass production.
Tradition does not have to be preserved just because it is tradition. However, there are traditions that have been passed on over generations because there are ultimate facts hidden within. Although my Son Mai art adopts personal thoughts and techniques which are totally my invention, they are still supported by logic of Vietnam's traditional craftsmanship.
I hope that my art works will help people realize the potential of Vietnamese Son Mai.